EU ‘self-promotion’ budget reaches €664 million in 2014 - Eurosceptic group

© Francois Lenoir
The European Union spent €664 million on promoting its values among grown-ups and children last year, a report by the Business for Britain campaign said.

The paper, entitled “How much does the EU spend on promoting itself? (, was put together after a line-by-line check of EU budgets for 2014.

The report by the Eurosceptic campaign describes thousands of publications, videos and information campaigns produced by the Union in order to improve its image.

The key PR expenditures in 2014 went to such projects as “Enhancing public awareness of the Common Agricultural Policy” (€11 million), “Fostering European Citizenship” (€24.8 million), and the “House of European History” museum (€9.6 million), which is to open in Brussels in 2016.

“Money assigned to communications in EU budgets is for much more than just ‘public information’, and instead presents a highly biased account of both the EU and its political objectives,” the reports said.

The document cited the European Commission strategy, which stated that “neutral factual information is needed of course, but it is not enough on its own”.

The EU materials targeted not only grownups, but also children, with over 100 publications, 1,000 videos, cartoons and coloring books issued for distribution in schools, the reports said.

Among them was an animated film describing how the EU “came to the rescue” of farmers, an interactive game teaching youngsters to recycle, and a book about one of the stars on the EU flag, entitled “The little star of Europe.”

“Indoctrinating children in classrooms and funding EU-friendly NGOs is a completely inappropriate use of taxpayers’ money when budgets are being cut at home,” Matthew Elliott, Business for Britain chief executive, told the Telegraph newspaper.

The EU promotional activities aren’t limited to the sum of €664 million, as they are also included in larger budgets where they aren’t specifically detailed in the documentation, the report said.

“More widely, the EU committed €3.9 billion to budgets that contained provisions for EU promotional spending and ‘corporate communication of the political priorities of the Union.’ This is a substantial rise on the €2.4 billion that was available to the EU for self-promotion in 2008,” the Eurosceptics’ report said.

The report also revealed that the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Communication operated on a budget of €246 million and employed 1,029 people last year, which is more money and staff than allocated to the EU’s Directorate-General for the Budget or the EU’s Directorate-General for Trade.

In 2013, the EU allocated €12.7 million to different NGOs, which promoted the idea of an “ever closer union” on the continent.

A European commission spokesman defended EU policies in an interview with the Telegraph, saying: “Providing the public with information on policies is an obligation in all democratic systems, which applies to the European Commission as much as it does to any public authority or government.”

As for promo materials aimed at kids, they are “only sent to schools upon the specific requests of teachers,” he added.